Wilson’s Ghost: Ukraine-Russia and the Failure of American Interventionism

In the early stages of the 20th century, then-American President Woodrow Wilson addressed Congress, imploring them to declare war against Imperial Germany and for America to enter full force into World War I. At a time when the Constitution still mattered in Washington, Wilson, limited in his capacity and requiring Congressional approval, painted a vividly false picture of a barbaric German military that had sent its submarines out into the world to engage in “warfare against mankind.” He demanded that our Nation’s armed forces be deployed with one goal: “The world must be made safe for democracy.” 

Unfortunately, in the aftermath of America’s involvement in WWI, a grim precedent had been set, and Wilson’s objective has continued to haunt our foreign policy. Now, after the monstrous, failed tragedies of both the Cold War and the War on Terror, the Warhawks of DC have set their sights on a new frontier of bloodshed in the form of the Russo-Ukrainian War. 

It has been over two years since the Russian military began its invasion of Ukraine, and, despite the American taxpayer’s coerced funding of the Ukrainian war effort to the tune of over $173 Billion, corporate media outlets, and even Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky himself, have started to concede the possibility that Ukrainian victory in the war may ultimately be a lost cause

In his weekly column, legendary champion for liberty and longstanding critic of American foreign policy Dr. Ron Paul compared US involvement in Ukraine to previous interventionist disasters, in particular the Vietnam War. However, Dr. Paul was quick to point out the blatant difference in military capabilities between the two countries, warning that being drawn into a similar conflict with Russia would be catastrophically dire: 

“Last Thursday the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Charles Q. Brown, said that NATO trainers deployed within Ukraine was inevitable. “We’ll get there eventually, over time,” he said. This, of course, is exactly how we got the Vietnam War, but Russia in 2024 is hardly late -1950s Vietnam. Russia of today is a country that can fight back and can project military power all the way to the source, which means the United States. Is [former US State Department official Victoria] Nuland’s Ukraine project worth dying in a nuclear war over?” 

Dr. Paul then went on to elaborate how the justification of interventionism made by today’s neocons is no less farcical than the one made by their ideological godfather Wilson over a century ago: 

“The whole US involvement in this proxy war has been based on lie after lie. They said we had to help Ukraine defeat Russia because democracy itself was at stake. Then Ukrainian president Zelensky canceled elections, so they told us we have to help Ukraine defeat Russia because Putin won’t stop there – he’ll soon be marching through Berlin, London, and maybe even New York! Doesn’t it remind you of how the neocons were warning us that Saddam was going to attack the US mainland with drones and that he was operating mobile weapons labs? Anything to get the public on board for their war.”

What have we to show for all these wars? A nation that is trillions of dollars in debt on the verge of financial collapse and the death of millions of people abroad…are we truly proud as American citizens that these are the consequences of our government’s actions over more than a century?

We have become so far removed from our founding principles that the words of President Washington regarding his vision for America’s relationship with the rest of the world sound incredibly foreign: 

“The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop…Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government. The period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.” 

It is time to return to the foreign policy of our Great Founding Father. It is time for us as a country to reclaim our values of peace and prosperity, restore our original intent to be a Beacon of Liberty to the rest of the world, and go back to minding our own business. However, this can only be accomplished when we fully exercise the wicked specter of Wilson’s ideology from our Nation’s history.

This article was written by Eric Madden, Copywriter & Editor at Young Americans for Liberty

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